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Construction Materials

1.1. Social Buildings have to comply with social considerations of sustainability so that they must provide safe, comfortable and healthy interiors. In order to meet these objectives the major considerations are ensuring structural integrity, dealing with vibration levels, adequate weather protection, fire resistance and acoustic performance. 1.2. Economic Economic considerations play a major and often deciding role in determining what kinds of materials to use for construction purposes. The major considerations are that buildings ought to be durable, reusable, require low maintenance and energy efficient. These considerations need to be satisfied both during the building phase as well as during the operation phase. Some other considerations include the construction costs, net lettable area, building reuse value, construction programmes and whole of life value. 1.3. Environmental Environmental considerations mandate that buildings ought to be constructed in a manner that their whole-of-life energy use as well as their greenhouse gas emissions produce a small ecological footprint. The major considerations are the life cycle assessment (LCA), cooling of urban areas, thermal mass and recycling. Appendix ‘A’ shows the mutually common area that social, environmental and economic factors share to produce a truly sustainable design. 2. Sustainability of Current Lecture Centre Building Concrete has been in extensive use around the globe as a preferred construction material for residential and commercial applications alike (Goodchild, 1997). When put in perspective of sustainability, concrete has a number of advantages to offer including (but not limited to) economic considerations, durability, acoustic performance, recyclability, thermal mass, fire resistance and adaptability. The factors listed above can be optimised to achieve maximised sustainability from concrete construction based on construction techniques and other considerations. The current Lecture Centre Building at Brunel University is made out of concrete in large part and offers a sustainable outlook based on social, economic and environmental considerations. These are discussed below in detail. 2.1. Social Concrete buildings are able to offer structural integrity along with structural requirements that are well understood by designers and builders alike. This leads to the construction of safer structures that are able to stand up to risks such as snow, earthquakes, wind base loading etc. The large mass involved in concrete construction ensures that these structures provide excellent damping characteristics that are required for minimising vibration. In addition, concrete provides exceptional fire resistance given that it does not burn at all and does not emit toxic fumes when exposed to fire (Ching, 1995). For most cases concrete structures can be described as fire proof. Similarly, concrete structures are able to offer excellent acoustic damping characteristics as well which mandates the lowest possible use of insulation materials. 2.2. Economic Concrete buildings are the most economical solution when it comes to multi-storey buildings (please see Appendix ‘C’ for a comparison). The large amount of benefits that are provided by concrete such as fire resistance, large thermal mass and durability ensure that concrete buildings have lower operating costs and maintenance requirements. Building reuse is also more common for concrete structure for example ...Show more

Summary

1. Introduction Designing and constructing sustainable buildings revolves around balancing social, environmental as well as economic considerations simultaneously. The current building (Brunel University’s Lecture Centre) is in large part constructed using a concrete frame…
Author : kautzerneoma
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